Monday, September 28, 2009

Boys and Girls

I think, after having 3 of each, that boys are just mostly boys and girls are mostly girls. There are behaviors that seem to just come about, patterns of development that are for some reason pre-programmed according to gender. Girls are faster at their fine motor skills, boys run better sooner. That kind of thing. I'm lately discovering that some girl and boy behaviors are purely situational from a very early age...
My baby girl, Miss two years old, likes bugs. She likes snakes, lizzards, "bug-bugs" of all kinds. I mean she has so little fear of crawly things that I'm in constant fear that she will bring me some kind of extremely toxic thing one day -- open her little hand right under my nose, "see momma see my new bug-bug?!" just in time to see the scorpion sting her palm, or the tiny baby snakey strike her on the wrist. Ack!
We have a home day care business here, where as of today we have one little boy (he's about 5 months older than my baby) who joins our family during the day. He gets "home" (as my kids put it, lol) around 7:30am and leaves around 4:30pm Monday thru Friday. He was on vacation with his mom and big brother last week, and boy did our Izza miss her Davy! All week long she was catching "wrasshoppers" and "ugly bug-bugs" and trapping poor unsuspecting earthworms in all kinds of containers, "so i tan show it to Daby when Daby tums home!" She was diligently giving the snakes we have in glass containers "a drint of water so Daby tan see my sakes when Daby tums home." I quit counting the stinkbugs she caught, bare-handed, after she brought me the fourth one, "see momma see my tinky bug I save it for Daby!" Just so you know, a coffee can full of stink bugs is really REALLY nasty.
So anyhow, this is Monday and "Daby" is back. Joy! My drowsy kids finally arise around 9:00 and we all have breakfast, then the little ones and I retire to the front yard to play...I was getting my camera ready to take some very cute pictures of Izza proudly showing off her bug-bug collection, when I heard a peircing scream from the sidewalk in front of me: "AAAHH!! BUG-BUG!!! AAAHHHHH! MY DABY GET DAT BUG-BUG! AAAHHHH" My little bug collector, future entymologist prodigy, who has spent the last week with bug-bugs in her very pockets, is running screetching down the walk at the sight of a tiny little black beetle the likes of which she spent the last week feeding to her pet snake. And SCREECHING FOR A LITTLE BOY TO COME AND SAVE HER!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Sabbath Day

A friend sent me a text message this afternoon asking what I was up to. I replied "oh, cleaning, catching up on laundry, helping the kids clean their rooms and get us all ready for Monday." Got a message back saying did I know that Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest, that even God rested on the sabbath and I'm kinda offending him by not honoring it.
A:  If I'm supposed to be honoring the sabbath by resting today, why did you text me to see what I was up to? Odds were, I was "cleaning, catching up on laundry..." etc. So next time I get a message on a Sunday asking me what I'm up to, I'll just say "resting." Unless it's from a Seventh Day Adventist, then I can say "cleaning..." Unless it's from a Seventh Day Adventist on a Saturday.
B:  Yeah, okay, God had like six whole days all to himself with nobody else around to work on this one project. So he finished his project and he stepped back and looked around and said "It's all good," put Adam in charge of things and took the day off. Which day may or may not have been Sunday...in any case, God didn't have five children running around screwing up everything he tried to make as soon as he made it, adding peices and switching things around every time he turned his back. On the sixth day (which for these purposes we'll call Saturday,) God didn't have to stop in the middle of what he was doing to fix 4 meals, potty with a 2 year old like 17 times, play cards with 9 & 7 year olds, read to a 4 year old and watch an 11 year old mow the lawn. God also didn't have day care kids coming on Monday morning. Amen!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Short end of the stick...

Why is it, when somebody gets a raw deal or a bad hand in life, we say that they got "the short end of the stick?" Because, really, if you were coming at me with a stick and I could pick -- like you stopped and said "I'm here to smack you with this big ol' destiny stick here, it's really heavy and spikey and might turn you into a toad, so which end do ya want me to clock you upside your fool head with?" I'd definitely holler "SHORT END!"
And speaking of sticks, I have a confession to make. I'm suffering from a small case...well, okay, it ebbs and flows from a mere trickle to a raging tide of a case, depending on things like how many pee-pee panties I found hidden under my bath towels...at any rate it's a case of the green-eyed monster, Jealousy.
My husband has gotten a job in the field he's been aspiring to for some twenty years now. Some years more aspirated...aspiring...he's tried harder some years than others, to be sure. And for many years, he actually completely put aside these aspirations (I knew I'd get to use it again!) in favor of the Old Man, money. I know, there's more to life than money, but at the time I was busy aspiring to have like six children, and two people in the same household can really only aspire so much at one time.
And lofty aspirations about a dream career don't buy many pair of shoes on their own. So for a few years there we had some babies, worked, sent a couple to school, brought a few home to school, had a couple more babies...keeping our minds and hearts open, and this year (we're 40) comes an opportunity for my husband to take the leap, from "paying the bills" to working at a truly fulfilling career that happens to pay the bills. He's in law enforcement now, and gets to attend police academy.
I say "gets to" instead of "has to" because he does! He gets to go out of town, all by himself, from Sunday evening through Friday afternoon -- he gets to start every day with a healthy dose of exercise and doesn't have to stop 15 minutes into his workout to shush a cryer, or change a poopy diaper, or fix a bowl of malt o' meal. Somebody will cook him 3 hot meals every day and clean up the dishes. He gets to attend classes most of the day, learning things besides the new phonics. He gets to sit down in the evenings and do homework, which he will turn in without crayon marks on it, and for which he will recieve a grade within a short period of time. Somebody will look at his paper and say "good job."
He'll be challenged, too -- he gets to take tests, gets to boost his running speed with regular fitness routines, gets to practice marksmanship (tho he's already a great shot) and maybe learn about new weapons technology and wow, all kinds of cool cop stuff! He even gets to get tazered! I've got no desire to get tazered, but you know what I mean? He gets to use his brain for something besides tracking how much money is already in the grocery cart by the end of aisle 4. I admit it, I'm jealous. I do feel a little bit like I got the short end of this particular stick.
I bet it'll be hard for him to be away from us all week -- but then again he does get to come home every weekend, it's not like he's deployed out of state or anything. And I can always call him at 3am and tell him all about the little feet kicking me in the back and the pukey sheets I just threw into the washer, if he's missin' the "night life." And true, if my night sucks I can always veg-out with a book for a few hours in the morning, while the children watch a movie -- no thinking or physical effort there. If he's up all night studying or whatever, no excuses in the morning. Up & at 'em!
Also, unless I'm mistaken, I believe he will be without cell phone service for the entire class day! For like FIVE MONTHS! And here I'll be, texting my little heart out...that makes me feel a little better. ;o)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hot chocolate for breakfast, in NM, in September -- somebody kick up the A/C!

Sitting out on the porch this morning enjoying the moist chill in the air mostly brought on by a late night rain shower -- a friend said on her FB profile "it's like the whole world got a bath." It's also chilly enough in the shady, west-facing front porch that my hot tea tastes that much better, and the children are asking for hot cocoa & home made rolls for breakfast.
Rolls...check. Made a big batch yesterday. Cocoa...here goes:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder (which is very healthy for me, I can tell by the little green "best life" seal on the label!)
1/4 cup water (or leftover coffee for "mochococoa" as my kids put it)
pinch salt
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup half & half
teaspoon vanilla
milk to taste

Spray inside a large saucepan with a little cooking spray, then whisk together sugar, cocoa, salt and water in the pan til smooth. Bring the syrup to a low boil on medium heat. DO NOT start this mixture cooking, then go change a diaper, switch the laundry, and swipe & bleach the main bathroom before going back to the stove. Stir constantly and boil for about a minute, until the syrup is very shiny and pretty and the aroma has attracted at least three children who know you can't stop stirring even long enough to shoo them out of the kitchen. Warn children of the dangers of sticking their noses over the edge of the stove. Move pan onto a cool burner while you open the can of evap milk and find the half & half behind the mustard (it BELONGS on the shelf with the milk, I know.) Move pan back to hot burner and say Hail Mary that nobody stuck their hand on the hot burner or into the hot syrup while you weren't looking.
Whisk in the can of evaporated milk and half & half until smooth again, then add the vanilla and bring back to almost a boil. Now, it's officially done -- put a shot of Kahlua each into your four favorite demitasse cups, fill with hot mixture and top with real whipped cream for a decadent dessert cocktail! Or glug some Kahlua into the pan, whisk up, and divide into...oh, say about ONE big mug...
Otherwise, here's where you leave out the Kahlua and add whatever milk you drink, to taste. Just dump it in the pan and swirl around with the whisk until it's a color/strength you like. I add about 6 cups of 2% milk for the kiddies' batch. If you whisk it real fast right before each cup you pour, it gets nice and frothy so everybody can compare their "cocoa-stache" while they're at the table and they don't miss the marshmellows that you leave out because this really is a low-sugar snack when you make it with at least 6 cups of milk.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lava Java

Yum, I love the pumpkin, spiced, and peppermint coffees that start popping up at the market in the fall. Throughout the year I'm a hot-beverage fan, in fact we keep our house so cool in the summer that I'm perfectly comfortable enjoying an afternoon tea with hot tea. Earl Grey, English Breakfast and that-orange-spice-with-remember-or-something-in-the-name-but-I-never-can-remember-it are my faves. I also like a hot energy drink now and then, which might sound strange, but an EmergenC drink warmed up or an "Advocare" product called "Spark" is really great either morning or afternoon. Heatin' it up is even a nice way to recycle a leftover half-a Red Bull that's been forgotten in the door of the fridge for a couple of days. (DANGER! WARNING! Has to be F L A T Red Bull. Hot and carbonated do not go together!!)
This morning, tho, I got me a straight-up sludge-o-rama, hand perked because my carafe broke...now I'm hand-pouring boiling water over the fresh-ground beans in the metal filter perched atop a large measuring vessel, which results in a product that must fall somewhere in between "turkish campfire," old fashioned "percolated" and new-fangled "french press." Plenty of tar at the bottom which will also make a great flavoring for things like cheesecake and chocolate frosting, if I get it in the fridge before it turns really bitter. Of course what might really happen with that lovely syrup is that my poor husband will notice that there's "coffee" left in the big measuring cup on the stove and decide to pour himself a cup...I'll hear "jesus christ how can you drink this s--t! I thought you were ordering a new carafe for the cuisinart like weeks ago..." Which I was, ordering the new carafe I mean. Then I found something else I wanted to spend my $30 on, like probably deli meats for hoagie night or, um...okay maybe some fancy candies to go with tomorrow morning's coffee. ;o)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Self Checkout

Well, I had my first personal experience with the "self-checkout" yesterday. The "little kids" (who would be two 2-year olds and one 5 year old) and I went to catch up on the last minute shopping for a 5th birthday supper. Wal Mart was really busy, and of course had only two or three poor lonely checkers for the ten-cart lines that seemed to magically appear behind us just as I was paying my bill and realizing that I had forgotten to pick up AA batteries. Ordinarily batteries aren't a personal priority and certainly not a priority enough for me to go back into the store proper and stand in a ten-cart line with three young children. I wouldn't even do it by myself, actually, except that I needed the batteries to put in the birthday cake blow-up deocration I bought on sale for $7 down from $9. SO FUN! But needed batteries, so here I go turning the cart around despite protests of "NO MOOOOMMM, NO MORE STOOOOREEEE" and "but we hunry mommy!" and "no mama no mo toe!" from the peanut gallery. Battery display only a few feet from checkout and I was sure relieved until I turned around and saw the lines that I hadn't noticed behind us a few seconds before.
In desperation, I spot two completely empty "self-checkout" kiosks. Stands. Whatever you call them. I have always hesitated to try these because I feel like I'm missing part of the true shopping experience. I like to say hi to the checker, ask how they are, make them laugh about my children etc. I pride myself on leaving more than one grouchy-seeming cashier with a smile on his or her face as we pull away like some kind of grocery parade. So anyways I assure the children it will only take a minute because we're using the self-checkout.
I have to say it, in text message parlance: "O M G!"
Talk about the most annoying thing ever to repeat the phrase "please place item in the bagging area" you have ever seen in your whole life! Okay, fine, I press the "button" (all on the touch-screen) to begin checkout. It tells me to "please scan item" so I scan. Item beeps. No, wait, that was the lady across from me's item, okay that beep was my item. "Please place item in the bagging area." I've already got a cart full of bags and it's only a 4 pack of batteries, so I skip that step and toss the batteries into the bag with the balloons & streamers in it. Then I go to scan my Red Bull (because they put the damn energy drink display right before the self-checkout so of course I needed a Red Bull, and one for later, and a Monster Lo-Carb for my husband so I didn't look like a selfish ass only taking care of my own energy drink needs) and it says "you have reached non-bagging limit, please wait for assistance." What? Okay, the screen has a button that says "I don't want to bag this item" so I press that one. It says "please place item in bagging area." So I hold the can over the bagging area, fiddle with the bag like when you're trying to start the automatic faucets, ya know the hand wiggle...not good enough. Apparently you have to set the item down on the platform in the bagging area? I give up, scan two Red Bulls and a Monster in quick succession, glance at the total which looks about right, and press the "done" button, hoping if I just ignore the machine's pleas to bag my items it will eventually decide to shut up and take my money. Which will be a whole other show, because now I have to decide "card or cash." I'm eyeing the cash slot, thinking how hilarious it will be to see me fighting with the bills I want to put in, imagining the automatic voice repeating "please flatten out your old wrinkly money" and "please use bills without chocolate on them..." Swipe, sign on the line, thank goodness that's over with.
Never again! The "goodbye-er" (what we call the exit person, since he's not technically greeting us) just about high-fived me, I was waving my reciept so victoriously on my way out!